U.S. government and business organizations are re-evaluating their communications network design and resiliency following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Planners are now emphasizing dispersed, redundant, military-style systems that can rapidly retrieve and update lost data or switch to alternate transmission modes to maintain connectivity.
Despite a shaky economy, businesses are contributing to homeland security and the war against terrorism by backing their workers who are guardsmen or reservists. Although it is still too early to determine how an extensive call-up may affect human resources, many firms are researching their legal requirements in terms of pay, benefits and re-employment. Several are then going beyond the mandatory to the extraordinary to ensure that their employees can serve their country without worrying about their families or civilian jobs.
The British government is employing streamlined procurement procedures that change the way military projects are bid, selected and deployed. Moving away from traditional single-platform and service-based methods, the process utilizes a flexible approach that meets changing national defense requirements.
While analysts now are keeping a sharper eye on possible weapons proliferation, some of the technologies they employ may play an increasingly important role in maintaining homeland security. In the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, experts charged with detecting overseas programs to develop weapons of mass destruction are refocusing their efforts on a new list of nations that pose more immediate threats.
The tragic events of September 11 provide ghastly substance to the metaphor of asymmetric warfare. And, they add credence to prescient but nebulous warnings of threats to homeland security and concomitant vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures.
U.S. Army planners are building a new intelligence architecture that ties closely with military, civil government and law enforcement activities both for rapid overseas engagement and for homeland defense. A new plan outlines an Army that meshes with the intelligence community as a whole to fill future requirements in its multimission agenda.
The U.S. State Department is conducting "junkyard dog" network penetration tests and vulnerability assessments at U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Simultaneously, a network intrusion detection program will provide rapid warning of unauthorized access to the department's far-flung sensitive information systems.
A software-based access control system offers administrators and planners a secure option for wireless and online communications. Capable of working with legacy technologies, the scalable program forms a layered defense against unauthorized entry or use of network components.
In the near future, access to U.S. naval vessels and facilities will be accomplished with the swipe of a card. The service is issuing smart cards for entry control and record-keeping purposes to all of its personnel. The rollout is part of a larger program to provide the devices for all U.S. Defense Department employees.
Laser-based position location systems are entering a new era that is based on quantum mechanics. The research could lead to the dawn of technologies such as entangled lasers that surpass a fundamental limit on the accuracy of classical systems and add a built-in cryptographic capability.